JOHANNESBURG – A social worker from one of the NGOs that Life Esidimeni patients were transferred to has told the arbitration process that she did whatever she was told, even in instances when it was unethical because she feared being accused of insubordination.
Daphney Ndhlovu works at the Cullinan Care Rehabilitation Centre which is one of the NGOs where most patients from Esidimeni died.
One hundred and forty-one mentally ill people died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Life Esidimeni group.
Ndhlovu says that she was told by her superiors to do a number of things that go against a social worker’s ethics but did them out of fear.
“It was not simply a request that somebody was asking you, it was an instruction that somebody has to follow.”
She says that some of these included discharging patients improperly and also taking in too many clients.
She also spoke of a serious case of overcrowding at the Cullinan Care Rehabilitation Centre with the NGO looking after 267 mentally ill people when it actually only has the capacity for 150 patients.
“Designated capacity was 150, so during this Life Esidimeni process, we had more than 150 patients.”
The social worker’s cross-examination continues on Tuesday morning.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)